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Norris Geyser Basin Museum

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Norris Museum
1929–1930, Herbert Maier. Norris Geyser Basin.

The Norris Museum, the most imposing of the three extant trailside museums in Yellowstone National Park, is set within a clearing of a lodgepole pine forest at the south edge of Norris Geyser Basin. The low-slung building with its extended roof overhangs appears to hug the ground. The south facing facade is composed of large, undressed stones set in full-height, masonry piers that support a trussed, clipped-gable structure of large diameter peeled, knotty, and painted wood logs. The cavernous mouth of its open entryway effectively draws visitors into a 22-foot-wide, 20-foot-high passage leading directly to a terrace from which to view the geysers. Interior exhibits are housed in flanking wings perpendicular to this central passageway. These wings, subordinate in height and treatment to the main entry, have wood-framed walls finished with wood shingles laid in alternating tall and short courses. The solid walls are penetrated with full-height picture windows with nine divided lights. Juxtaposed against the substantial stone treatment, these windows provide transparency and natural illumination.

In 1995 new exhibits on geothermal geology, the features of the Norris Geyser Basin, and life in thermal areas were installed. National Park Service interpreters staff an information desk located in the passageway. An adjacent former restroom facility of matching architectural style houses a bookstore.


Bryant, Harold C., and Wallace W. Atwood, Jr. Research and Education in the National Parks - Part I: The Educational Program in the National Parks. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1932.

Harrison, Laura Soulliere. Architecture in the Parks National Historic Landmark Theme Study. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1986.

Writing Credits

Lesley M. Gilmore
Mary M. Humstone



  • 1929

    Norris Museum Construction

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Lesley M. Gilmore, "Norris Geyser Basin Museum", [Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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